Designer Spotlight: Etienne Deroeux

Designer Spotlight: Etienne Deroeux

Mathias Rosenzweig highlights up-and-coming designers to know now. Here, French-expat and NYC-resident Etienne Deroeux.

Mathias Rosenzweig highlights up-and-coming designers to know now. Here, French-expat and NYC-resident Etienne Deroeux.

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

In recent years, Americans have dominated the world of elevated sportswear, or “athleisure,” within fashion. This makes French designer Etienne Deroeux’s approach all the more compelling. He makes clothes for women who are “active, urban and independent,” harping on daywear as opposed to the formal eveningwear market that the French tend to thrive in. The brand might be new to you, but Deroeux presented his 10th collection last spring after he relocated to New York. His move to the States came from disdain for Brexit and Europe’s immigration crisis paired with the fact that the US is his biggest market. New York, in particular, fell in love with Deroeux’s brand of chic sportswear, which uses elements like long, exaggerated sleeves to impart hints of surrealism and intricacy.

V spoke to Deroeux about his background in fashion, the intersection between clothing and architecture, and the most rewarding part of being a designer.

 What would be the mission statement for your clothing line? 

Etienne Deroeux: I like to borrow architect Louis Sullivan's motto—"form follows function”—when I refer to my clothing, transferring this idea into a daily wardrobe.

How did you learn to design and turn your creations into a reality? 

ED: I studied fashion design at Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and La Cambre School in Brussels.

When did you realize you wanted to be a designer as a profession? 

ED: I played with fashion from a very early age and was always very specific with my personal clothing. I wanted to be an architect until I figured out that there were schools for fashion design and that it was an actual job. I think I was 12.

What are some of the most prominent inspirations for your line? 

ED: Architecture is definitely a big inspiration. Observing how women live in urban areas and how to answer their needs is also a big part of it.

What movie, TV show, or music video had the best fashion in your opinion? 

ED: I'm more inspired by visual and graphic arts rather than pop culture, although Takeshi Kitano's movies always get to me.

Why do you think fashion is important on a larger scale? 

ED: Fashion stands at the crossroads of contemporary aesthetics and artistic discipline,s and is the witness of what defines an era.

If you could have anyone be the face of your line, whom would it be?

ED: I'd pick Sade. She is a style icon while staying a rarity.

If you could collaborate with anyone, whom would it be? 

ED: I'd love to do collaborations with visual artists. If it could be anyone, Robert Motherwell would be a first choice. Imagining garments with architects would also be very interesting to me, like a putting [together] a clothing line with Tadao Ando, for example.

What is the hardest part of your job? 

ED: Believing in yourself and your ideas.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

ED: When you believe in yourself and your ideas pay off.

What's your New Year's resolution?

ED: Quit smoking.

 How do you define success? 

ED: Being happy with and inspired by what you do on the daily.

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